The year 2020 taught us many lessons about the importance of public safety training. As devastating news headlines swept across our screens, and powerful protests sparked across the country, it became clear that there is significant work that needs to be done in the field of public safety. Systemic injustices are, in many ways, embedded within law enforcement. It is up to us to fuel the necessary changes, as well as improve the presence and the future of public safety in our communities.
If you are considering a career in public safety or law enforcement, you may be wondering what lies ahead for this field of work. Will communities have any trust in law enforcement officers after recent events? Will policies change, as more cases of police violence come to surface? What will the demand for public safety jobs look like in the future, and is now the right time to enter this profession?
When thinking about the future of public safety, there is a lot to unpack. As an aspiring professional, the current events and calls for police reform can be both inspiring and intimidating all at once. On one hand, you may foresee challenges in your future if you choose to walk this career path. However, you may also see tremendous opportunity to enhance the public safety system, to facilitate changes in how it works, and to rebuild trust between communities and public safety professionals.
If you see opportunity, know that you can be part of the future of the public safety field—And now is the time to get started.
In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment of public safety professionals would increase over the next decade. Police officers and detective jobs, for example, would grow 5 percent between 2019 and 2029. Emergency management directors would see about 4 percent growth in job openings, while employment of EMTs would grow 6 percent. Similarly, the employment of fire inspectors and investigators was expected to grow 6 percent over the ten-year span.
Of course, at the time, the BLS did not predict the events that would shape the future of public safety, and therefore the employment landscape. So, what can you expect in 2021 and beyond? As a leader in public safety education, Goodwin University has compiled some predictions for the future forerunners of the public safety field:
The need for public safety professionals is here to stay.
In regards to public safety, there is an inherent need for authorities to help keep our public safe. The lives of people depend on public safety professionals and their ability to respond to situations quickly, effectively, and accurately. As long as there is crime and dangers within our communities, there will be a need for public safety professionals – from emergency responders to police officers – to step in. As long as threats – from drug trafficking to a global pandemic – exist in communities, there will be a need for public safety administrators and federal security agents to strategize and protect against them.
The need for public safety professionals is not going away now or in the future. Jobs are here to stay, and now is the time for qualified and prepared individuals to fill them.
There will be a greater need for professionals to step up, speak up, and facilitate change.
As noted above, now more than ever there is an opportunity to make changes in the public safety sector. If you have a desire to make a difference and serve communities wholeheartedly, now is the time to step in, step up, and make your voice heard. The next generation of public safety professionals will help steer the way for the future of public safety. They will help to underline and put forth the values that are central to this line of work.
At its core, the law enforcement and public safety field is all about protecting others. The number-one priority of public safety officers is to safeguard their communities and the individuals living within them. After that, public safety officers’ main role should be to exercise good judgment, tactics, respect, and empathy in the work they do. They should be trained to make decisions effectively and ethically, and to handle challenges with clarity and control. These are skills that must be learned and practiced, and therefore must be reflected in public safety training initiatives.
As a public safety professional, you may have the opportunity to develop and implement policies for change. Depending on where you work, you may have the opportunity to protect people, places, and important information from outside threats. You may even have the opportunity to help others train to be the best public safety officers they can be. Of course, your career options in public safety will depend on your level of education. With a bachelor’s degree in public safety, you may find career paths in:
- Assessing risks in communities
- Developing and implementing new public policies
- Researching methodologies to improve public safety
- Planning safety and security initiatives in communities
Technology advancements will help break current barriers in the public safety field.
When discussing the future of public safety, it is also important to recognize the technological advancements that have been achieved, or that are forthcoming, in the field.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police recently affirmed its commitment to transparency with communities. They are partnering with the technology giant, Motorola, to develop clear technology policies and solutions that will:
- Enhance video security and analytics
- Ensure both officer and community safety
- Leverage ethical AI technologies to solve crimes faster
- Expand usage of cameras in efforts to build community trust
In fact, according to Motorola, 27% of police forces in 2020 were planning to implement body cameras in the next two years, and over 75% plan to use facial recognition technologies to aid investigations.
Additionally, according to a recent report from Mordor Intelligence, recent advancements were made by the Aurora Police Department in the year 2020 to help improve law enforcement efforts. For example, they implemented a new analytics solution that allows public safety professionals to deep-dive into crime data and analyze trends. This force also implemented a new records management solution in efforts to react to crimes more efficiently and to serve their communities better.
This is just the beginning of a wake of change. As the future of public safety progresses, we anticipate technology will continue to break down the barriers between law enforcement and citizens, and to ensure a higher degree of safety across our communities.
If you desire to be a part of the future of public safety, the time is now to get involved. With a public safety degree from Goodwin University, you can join the ranks of law enforcement, corrections, national security, or emergency management agencies. Learn about your public safety career options here, or call 800-889-3282 to learn about the public safety programs at Goodwin University.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.